Beauty & the beast: BB Creams

 

 

“Time is money” pretty much sums up how our world today lives by. We never seem to have enough of it, whether it’s for sleep, studying or leisure activities.

In my first economics class at Davis, we learned about opportunity costs. How I see it is that opportunity cost is the next best option for spending your time and other resources.

This, in a sense, provides a method that assigns a monetary value for time. Now don’t quote me on that definition. I didn’t exactly do too well on Professor Feenstra’s midterm because I figured the opportunity cost for attending lecture at 9 a.m. in the morning was extra sleep and breakfast with my floormates in the dining commons.

Conversely, “money is time.” As a result of meeting society’s fast-paced living standards, we continually strive for better, faster, more efficient, more convenient … and if a product delivers this, then it’s successful and makes money.

Although technology probably first comes to mind, this notion applies to any aspect of our lives. It is apparent with food, hence the popularity of fast food chains and microwaveable food. Our drive to seek convenience and efficiency also appears in beauty products.

It takes time for one to prime and prep oneself to perfection. Applying makeup is definitely a complicated process that requires much knowledge and skill and must be perfected through continual practice. There is much to consider when hiding and blurring imperfections while accentuating stronger features.

No matter how experienced you are with makeup, it takes time. It’s ironic how when you need makeup the most, you don’t have time to apply it. You don’t need a whole lot of makeup if you’ve been fully rested. It’s the times when you’ve been up until 4 a.m. cramming for that o-chem test at 8 a.m. when you need every extra wink of sleep you can get. Lucky for you, there are plenty of products out there tailored toward saving time.

One of them is the BB cream. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it, since they are currently the new must-have revolutionary beauty product on the market. In my opinion, this beauty trend came out of nowhere. I remember seeing a commercial on TV for Garnier’s BB cream, advertising the product as five in one. It evens skin tone, hydrates, renews, protects and brightens all at the same time.

Next thing I know, every brand from drugstore brands at CVS to higher-end brands at Sephora carry their own line of BB cream. They all market themselves as a radical, multi-beneficial, all-in-one product that replaces multiple steps in the skincare routine by delivering the jobs of the different skincare products in one simple application.

I’ve noticed that most BB creams provide some coverage (foundation), hydrate (moisturizer), protect against the sun (sunscreen), even skin tone, reverse aging effects, as well as offer the other properties specific serums or moisturizers also claim to do.

BB creams, or beauty balms, actually originated in Germany and were prescribed to patients after undergoing laser surgery. Then, the Korean market discovered it as an all-in-one cosmetic skin care product. It was highly popular among the Asian market as a product that primes, provides light coverage, includes SPF and evens out and lightens general skin tone over time. Then the BB cream trend reached the U.S., and the rest is history.

I think the concept is great, and I know a lot of people who rave about BB creams. Although they may swear by theirs, I unfortunately did not find it to live up to its hype.

First of all, there are also plenty of tinted moisturizers with SPF and other additional benefits such as anti-aging and even skin tone in the market before BB creams became popular. So would BB cream just be a new name for those products, or are they innately different?

More importantly, I found that the BB creams I’ve tried did not really match my skin tone. Given, I’ve always had a difficult time matching my skin tone to a foundation, and there are endless shades of foundation. However, the shades offered for BB creams are extremely limited. I know Garnier only offers two different shades, and both looked unnatural on me. I found L’Oreal’s only shade to be pasty, ashy and grey, and it made me break out. I have not touched that tube again.

In addition, I did not find the BB creams to be especially hydrating, so I would have to use moisturizer under it, defeating the purpose and adding another step. I’ve only tried those two drugstore brands, but it was enough to convince me that BB creams were not for me. But that’s just me. Maybe you’ll find one that works amazingly for you!

 

EUGENIA CHUNG can be reached ehchung@ucdavis.edu.